Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole reacts to Europa League draw

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given his reaction to the Europa League group-stage draw and admits there are a few logistics to sort out, given the great distances his Manchester United team will have to travel for some of the games.

The Reds face long trips to Kazakhstan and Belgrade for matches with FC Astana and Partizan Belgrade in Group L. There will be a shorter visit to the Netherlands to take on AZ Alkmaar, who our Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero once played for, with Ole looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“It's interesting,” declared the manager, when he sat down to give his initial reaction to MUTV.

Solskjaer's verdict on our Europa League groupVideo

“There are a couple of new faces for us in there. You never know what you’re going to get – you could get short trips up to Scotland or you can end up in Kazakhstan as we have!

“That will be a new experience… I just spoke to Scott [McTominay] [about it] who was there with Scotland. It’s an artificial pitch and a good pitch, but the flights and the travel will be far.“I had a nice chat with Nemanja [Matic] today about Partizan [Belgrade] too as they beat my Molde team last night!

I watched the game and they’ve got Zoran [Tosic] of course who used to play here; I had [him as a player] in the Reserves. We last played them in ‘66 apparently so it will be a new experience for all of us.

“I went to watch Sergio at Alkmaar when he played for them actually, when I was away with the Reserves for a tournament,” he added.

“We’ll have some tough games but we’ll know exactly what we need to do when we get to these games, and we’ll sit down and think about the logistics.”

Sergio Romero in action for AZ Alkmaar in May 2011
Romero in action for AZ Alkmaar, back in May 2011.

Solskjaer also confirmed the competition will allow him to give some important game-time to members of his squad, with tests in different competitions coming regularly over the course of the next few months.

“We want to win this tournament of course,” he insisted. “It’s a competition that we know a lot about, we won it a couple of years back and it can be a way into the Champions League for next season. It’s also a way that we can use the squad and some youngsters will play these games.

“We’ll just focus on when the games come and see where we’re at. We’re looking forward to the games coming thick and fast now. There aren’t enough in this [current] period… everyone is raring to go and chomping at the bit and in September and October and beyond we’ll see where we are.”

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